Boosting The Adolescent Underachiever

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Block Allow. Da Capo Press Inc. Victor Cogen. Paperback Seiten. Teaching of students with specific learning difficulties needs. The Perseus Books Group. SEP Victor Cogen, this time, focuses his unique vision on inspiring the adolescent underachiever - a normal, healthy teenager who just isn't getting the grades he or she should.

Here, Dr. Cogen tackles the intricacies of the adolescent mind. His innovative approach goes beyond the stereotypical views of the teenage personality and teaches parents how they can personally take advantage of their adolescent's developing cognitive and emotional abilities. Adolescents are trapped between a world of fantasy created to help them escape from failure, and a growing need to become part of the real world of adults.

Using first-difference and matching methods, and controlling for a large set of potentially confounding variables, the study finds that university education generally boosts extraversion significantly by 0. These results are independent of the university at which students study.

Relational Teaching Approaches to Boost Student Engagement

The study also finds that students from disadvantaged backgrounds improve their agreeableness scores—a good proxy for altruistic and prosocial behavior—through university education by around 0. The authors do not find robust effects of university education on conscientiousness and openness to experience, which is a surprising result, because university training and campus life usually offer an intensive new learning environment. Two recent studies from Germany explore how life skills are affected by a recent reform that reduced the duration of high school from nine to eight years, while keeping the same curriculum, for adolescents on college track [5] , [6].

Both studies use the same outcome measures big five personality traits, internal locus of control , but one uses data from the German Socio-Economic Panel GSOEP a nationally-representative survey [6] , while the other uses primary survey data from Saxony-Anhalt collected on high school graduates two years after the implementation of the reform [5]. Both studies sought to identify the potential cost of a reform that increased the learning intensity and potential stress levels of affected students. The two studies arrive at quite different conclusions.

The authors interpret these effects as small to moderate, concluding that the reform was neither particularly beneficial nor harmful for German high school students. In contrast, the study based on nationally representative German data [5] finds that shortening the high school track caused German students to be more extroverted by 0.

The authors of [5] conclude that the reform increased pressure on students, which could be seen as harmful. Several studies evaluate the longer-term effects of school programs that directly target life skill development of adolescents [1] , [9] , [11]. All three are able to provide credible causal estimates of the effect of the intervention because they either use data from an RCT [11] or a lottery that randomly allocates individuals into school program participation [1] , [9].

One of these studies compares the achievement of students accepted by a lottery to the Promise Academy charter school in Harlem New York, US to the students who did not receive a spot through the lottery [9].

The Underachievers - Play That Way (Bass Boosted)

Charter schools differ from other public schools because of their explicit focus on life skill development. Students in the treatment group entered the Promise Academy in grade six.

Back to school: The underachiever and the slow learner

Survey and administrative data on outcomes were collected six years later when the students completed grade Lottery winners outscore lottery losers substantially and significantly on a range of academic outcomes. They are also less likely to experience teen pregnancy, use illegal drugs, or be involved in criminal activity. However, despite the positive impact on academic and non-academic outcomes, the study finds no or even negative effects on life skills. For instance, lottery winners score 0. There is no effect on internal locus of control 0.

Another study uses a similar strategy using data from Boston-based Massachusetts, US charter schools [1].

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Although the lottery winners significantly out-perform lottery losers on test scores, they score significantly lower on indices of grit The study on Boston charter schools [1] discusses explicitly the reasons why negative effects on life skill development might be found in both charter schools [1] , [9] , reasons that may also explain the insignificant or negative effects found for university education or education reforms [4] , [5] , [6].

This finding implies that using self-reported measures of life skills to assess the effectiveness of a school to teach life skills may lead to erroneous conclusions. The average program participant received 13 sessions. Additional primary survey data collected on a reduced sample of participants provides tentative evidence that the intervention was also successful in boosting life skills. Gains were recorded in self-assessed measures of grit and emotional health in the magnitude of 0.

This study is significant because it provides a cost—benefit analysis of the intervention against which other interventions can be benchmarked. Monetized benefits were between 2 and 30 times the intervention costs. Sometimes life skill measures are not available in the data that researchers use to evaluate the impact of a program.

Therefore, some studies use behavioral proxies of life skills, such as absences, school engagement, or on-time graduation, to evaluate the impact of schooling or education programs [2] , [7] , [8] , [10]. Using behavioral proxies is justified on the grounds that in-class behaviors reveal difficult-to-measure behavioral styles.

One study assesses the impact of the XL Club program, which targeted underachieving year-olds in English secondary schools [10]. The program aimed to help at-risk students to complete compulsory education and improve their age test score results by strengthening life skills. Unfortunately, participation in the program was not random because teachers recommended individual students to the program based on prior academic achievements.

Therefore, it was the worst-performing students who benefited from the program that were then compared against the better-performing children. Life skills were not directly measured either, so the authors use authorized and unauthorized absence rates as proxies for life skills. The authors found that students in the XL Club program increased the probability of excused and unexcused absences by 2 and 1.

Trajectories of Personal Well-Being Attributes Among High School Students in Hong Kong

Yet the authors claim that this increase in absences may be due to the selection effect of the poorest students into program participation. When controlling for this selection through a simulation exercise, the authors find indeed a negative effect of the program on absence rates, reducing absences by more than 10 percentage points.

The authors interpret this as evidence that the program was effective in improving life skills. Another US study evaluates the effect of teacher quality on student outcomes and life skill development using data on all ninth grade public school students in North Carolina, US, from to [8]. In this study, life skills are measured as a weighted average of absences, suspensions, course grades, and on-time grade progression.

The study finds that students who have a mathematics and English teacher in the 85th percentile of the test-score distribution a proxy for teacher quality relative to students with teachers in the bottom 15th percentile, report significantly higher values of life skills, in the range of 0. Finally, yet another US study estimates the effects of eighth grade class sizes on student effort using teacher assessment i.

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The students were asked to self-assess their effort in class at the first follow up two years later. The analysis uses observational data from the National Education Longitudinal Study To identify the causal effect of class size on effort in class, the authors compare the performance of the same student taught by the same teacher in two different academic subjects. They find that students engage significantly more in smaller classes. A one-standard deviation decrease in class size—moving from 24 to 18 students—leads to an immediate increase in academic engagement by 0.

One advantage of this study is that it produced an internal rate of return calculation for reducing class size from 24 to 18 students, where estimates range between 3. Whether the treatment effects are large or small is relative.

Boosting the Adolescent Underachiever

With the exception of two studies that find treatment effects between 0. To gain a better understanding of whether these treatment effects are economically meaningful, it is helpful to benchmark them against estimates on the observed malleability of life skills in response to common life events or the treatment effects of early-childhood interventions on life skills. Two studies report the magnitudes of the effects of standard life events such as health shocks or unemployment experiences on changes in the big five personality traits and internal locus of control over a four-year window, which is comparable in length to the duration of high school or university education [12] , [13].

On average, the authors find that life skills are relatively stable and the majority of life events in the health, labor market, and family domain have little impact on life skill dynamics in adulthood. The largest effects are found for a small group of women who experienced a series of traumatic life events lost job, death of spouse, health problems , which are exceptional and rare cases in the data, within a four-year window. For these women, internal locus of control significantly declined by 0.

Equally, a small group of individuals who experienced repeated financial shocks i. Random participation in the PPP significantly increased academic motivation and decreased problem behaviors in girls aged seven to nine. Girls who participated in the program scored 0.